By now, you probably know that this weekend will be the busiest boating weekend of the summer on Lake Texoma and other regional water bodies.
Why? Because it's the Fourth of July holiday weekend as America celebrates its 235th birthday.
With all of the boats that will be on the H2O, it is of paramount importance that local boaters take boating and watercraft safety extremely seriously.
Because boating safety - something of paramount importance ANY day you are on the water - becomes deadly serious during a holiday weekend on the state's most popular body of freshwater.
There will be little if any margin for error on area waterways.
While this is hardly an exhaustive list of boating safety rules, these are three of the bigger ones.
First and foremost, wear a PFD (personal floatation device).
TPWD reports that 90 percent of boating fatality victims who are recovered had not been wearing lifejackets.
The agency also says that wearing a PFD increases a person's chances of survival tenfold if they go into the water.
A second big rule of safe boating is not to drink and boat.
As you might expect, TPWD confirms that alcohol consumption is a leading contributor to boating accidents.
Bottom line is this - leave the booze off the boat. Wait until the day's action on the water is over before drinking your favorite alcoholic beverage.
A third big rule of boating safety is to watch the weather carefully and be prepared to get off the water quickly if the skies become threatening.
While probably not as rough as the Gulf of Mexico was this week when Tropical Storm Arlene churned into northeastern Mexico, Lake Texoma is still nothing to be trifled at during a garden-variety popcorn style summer thunderstorm.
Several of those popped up just east of our area on Thursday night and produced wind damage, hail, and severe weather reports in portions of East Texas.
Should one pop up over Texoma this weekend, it will bring to bear one of nature's deadliest weather killers: lightning.
Call me a wimp if you will, but I have been far too close to lightning strikes while hunting in the mountains.
And I have no plans for any similarly close shaves on the water.
If clouds start to boil or the distant rumble of thunder is heard, it is time for yours truly to get off the water.
A second reason to keep an eye to the sky when boating on Texoma is because the big reservoir becomes a raging inland sea when storm winds blow.
So if you see building weather in the distance or the marine radio warns of approaching storms, get off the water.
Because the best way to enjoy this holiday weekend of boating is safely.
Safely enough that you'll live to see another Independence Day holiday roll around next summer.
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America celebrates its 236th birthday! Coming Soon